God’s Glory Shall Cover the Earth

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

We wish to respond to God’s intent in giving us His word. Everything that you study in the Bible, whether it be prophecy, whether it be the informations of God’s truth, the law of God, the many interesting subjects that are given in the Bible, signs, health, and the laws of nations, whatever it is in the Bible, there is only one purpose for study. It is not just for getting information, but for the purpose of God’s glory to be shed abroad in this world.

The messages of Revelation are embraced by the three angels’ messages. The subjects of the Hebrew sanctuary and the antitypical day of judgment, along with the typical day of judgment, are all contained in those three angels’ messages, especially in the first angel’s message.

Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

I have often been meditating on this whole purpose. The purpose of life that the Lord had placed before me when I was in this terrible perplexity of what’s the purpose of living, came before me and He said, am I not worthwhile living for? Reminding me again of that and of the many years since that time when I have studied the depths of God’s word, my heart rejoices to realise that everything that I have ever studied indeed makes life worth living.

As you study the Bible, you see the glory of God and that glory He calls for us to embrace and to go forth to shed it abroad. We see this glory of the amazing love of God in sending Jesus into a journey from heaven down through to the very obedience of the cross that He went through, the lowest depth of human woe. As we study this, together with all the other connective subjects of prophecy, of law, of whatever the Bible displays, the one object of the whole exercise is expressed in Titus 2:14. What did Jesus give Himself for?

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

A peculiar people, zealous of good works. We are trying to appreciate the enormity of these words. The one objective that God is giving us here is for us to appreciate His great gift, and to redeem us from all iniquity. That is what it’s all about. To purify unto Himself a people, a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. {DA 22.1}
Our mind has been affected by the darkness and gloom of the earth and Satan’s deceptive power had to be broken. How could God do it? By demonstrating this infinite love.

Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Hebrews 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. {DA 24.2}

Our study of Jesus is given to us so that the darkness that enshrouds us might be dispelled and that we might see light in the darkness in which we dwell. This is the whole purpose of Bible study.

By the life and the death of Christ, the thoughts of men also are brought to view. From the manger to the cross, the life of Jesus was a call to self-surrender, and to fellowship in suffering. It unveiled the purposes of men. Jesus came with the truth of heaven, and all who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit were drawn to Him. The worshipers of self belonged to Satan’s kingdom. In their attitude toward Christ, all would show on which side they stood. And thus everyone passes judgment on himself. {DA 57.3}

The thoughts of men are brought to view as we gaze upon the realities of Jesus. Indeed a conflict takes place in the universe. Satan has darkened God’s character, God’s glory. That is what God’s character is, His glory. Jesus came to demonstrate God’s real glory. What was the glory? Jesus to came to reveal this to the human race by giving Himself. What was this glory of God that Jesus came to reveal, and which Satan, in the conflict, came to darken?

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

This is God’s character.

Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving…

Forgiving what? All three stages:

Exodus 34:7 …iniquity and transgression and sin,

What are these? What is iniquity? It’s another word for “behaving without law,” “lawlessness.” People who are lawless He is able to forgive. People who have transgressed the law, transgression, and sin, which is also transgression of the law but there are many other things, even to disbelieve is sin. Any aspect of sinfulness. It says here that the character of God is of mercy for thousands, forgiving these things.

Exodus 34:7 …and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

He is prepared to forgive all these things, and yet by no means clearing the guilty. This is an amazing statement of God’s character. The guilty are the people who reject all His mercy, who turn on a merciful God. As we contemplate these things, as we realise how God’s mercy is extended to a sinner such a I, as we contemplate Jesus we discover how sinful we are and we see that God is prepared to forgive all that by taking Jesus through the discouraging circumstances of our life. All who will embrace these realities are now called upon and invited to what is written in Psalm 96. This is the invitation that God is giving to those who will open their hearts to these realities:

Psalm 96:7 Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 8 Give unto the LORD the glory [due unto] his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

Can you appreciate the invitation that God is giving those who will believe these things? We are called upon to give God the glory. How can you give God the glory when His glory is there? This invitation is what we read in Revelation 14:7, Give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.
Where was the problem in the universe? Satan was smudging the character of God. He claimed that it was impossible for man to keep the law, that God’s law was selfishness. He had marred the whole image of God before the universe. Now God is permitting this planet to play out what Satan would do, and He brought Jesus right down onto this planet and permitted Satan to have a field day with Jesus. Then through Jesus we are called upon to open our hearts to His wonderful mercy and to let Him forgive us our sins, to trust Him, to believe in Him. As we take hold of this, the invitation is made, Now God is going to be judged in the judgment in how He deals with you who are sinners. But Satan had said, You disobey God? You will be struck dead. God doesn’t love you; He’ll destroy you because you have sinned. Now as the judgment hour commences, we are called upon to give God the glory. Those who live in these last days since the three angels’ messages have commenced, since the judgment hour message has commenced, are called upon to respond in such a way that God’s glory, God’s character, will be manifested. Give Him glory.

We are called upon to reveal God’s character. Let the work of Jesus come in to do this. The work of Jesus that He came to reveal is that God’s mercy and character can actually produce a people who are going to live a life of God’s character before the universe. Let this work of Jesus come in to express God’s character in His people. This is the call. Here is the call in practical detail.

The children of God are called to be representatives of Christ, showing forth the goodness and mercy of the Lord. {SC 115.1}

What are we to do? We are to give God the glory, showing forth the goodness and mercy of the Lord.

As Jesus has revealed to us the true character of the Father, so we are to reveal Christ to a world that does not know His tender, pitying love. “As Thou hast sent Me into the world,” said Jesus, “even so have I also sent them into the world.” “I in them, and Thou in Me; . . . that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:18, 23. The apostle Paul says to the disciples of Jesus, “Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ,” “known and read of all men.” 2 Corinthians 3:3, 2. In every one of His children, Jesus sends a letter to the world. If you are Christ’s follower, He sends in you a letter to the family, the village, the street, where you live. Jesus, dwelling in you, desires to speak to the hearts of those who are not acquainted with Him. Perhaps they do not read the Bible, or do not hear the voice that speaks to them in its pages; they do not see the love of God through His works. But if you are a true representative of Jesus, it may be that through you they will be led to understand something of His goodness and be won to love and serve Him. {SC 115.1}

Christians are set as light bearers on the way to heaven. They are to reflect to the world the light shining upon them from Christ. Their life and character should be such that through them others will get a right conception of Christ and of His service. {SC 115.2}

This is the whole purpose of living. This is our purpose if we will embrace the things that we are learning. This is the purpose that we have for existence. What a joy wells through my being to be able to do that, to represent God to the world. He is looking to us. He is looking to us not only to reveal Him to the world, but to reveal Him to the universe. The question will be, Will we be those people? In Revelation 14, there is such a people that will dwell on this earth in these last days.

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

A name represents a character. Remember, Jacob’s name was “Jacob”, “supplanter”, and then he became “Israel” because he was changed. God’s name is His character. This is the importance of God’s name. Many people make issues of God’s name. It’s got to be “YAHWEH”, or “Jehovah”, or whatever else they make issues of. Well, yes He has many names, “Elohim”. Which one are we going to say? The Jehovah’s witnesses go forth and say, We represent God correctly because we have His name. Well, where is His name to be? In our characters. “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

To have the name of God in our foreheads means to stand before God and before the universe without fault, to represent God’s character perfectly. The question is for all of us to answer, will we choose to be among them? That is our purpose for living. Will we want to believe in such a Jesus and let Him take our sinful self and replace it with His sinless glory, to then stand forth and reflect that glory? That is what our purpose of existence is.

The question of most vital importance for this time is, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?” {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 12}

The question of most vital importance for this time is whether we are going to be on the Lord’s side to give Him the glory. Who will unite with this angel, the Revelation 18 angel, so that light, that glory, will fill the whole earth? That is the most vital question that each one of us is individually called upon to answer.

This is to be revealed in practical terms in our character, in our life. We need a little more of God’s word to really appreciate what it actually means to give God the glory so that the glory of God covers the whole earth. It’s interesting. What will we do in joining with this angel in giving God the glory? What do you do when you let Jesus into your heart to take away your sin and give you His righteousness? Let us read what the apostle says. What do you do when you accept this amazing love of God, His glory, His mercy, His goodness to a sinner such as I?

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

We are to give God the glory. How is this expressed in reality? Whether we eat, or drink, what we dress in, our lifestyle, our career, you name it! Whatever it is, it is going to be God’s idea and God’s glory that must come into it. When you read those words, this is what it simply says. You eat or drink, or whatsoever you do. What does that mean? It’s whatever you do. We are to do it to the glory of God. Some people read this to mean, oh I just praise God for the fact that I’m doing this. No, it doesn’t mean that. It means that I will do the things according to God’s idea, according to God’s glory, according to God’s character.

Are you proud of your own way? People say very quickly off the cuff, no, no, no, no, I’m not being proud. We by nature have our ways of doing it. That’s our nature. We feel comfortable with our own ways, our own personal likes and dislikes, and we fashion our lives after our personal likes and dislikes. It doesn’t work any other way that we find meaning in life. We do things according to our own sense of wellbeing, what we’ve grown up with. Whether it be the music we’ve become accustomed to, and we start to enjoy as a child, it stays with us; or the food that we enjoy eating. All of a sudden we have to change that? That’s not comfortable, I’d rather eat the way I’m used to thank you very much. When it comes to dress, when it comes to the culture of life, the lifestyle; everything we do is according to the comfort zone of our own way.

God comes in and says, but that’s not my life. I look at Jesus and did He give up His position and His way for our sake? Was it comfortable? It was a suffering all the way. He gave up that which was beautiful and perfect for a world of misery and shame and then suffered right down to the depths of degree a life of condemnation. God says, I’ve done all that for you, will you give Me the glory? Will you live in a life that is different to what you are comfortable with naturally? O how little we ponder upon that! To give God the glory and live joyfully for something that is not naturally my joyful life. To sacrifice joyfully as Jesus did.

This natural human being is expressed in Philippians. We fashion our lives after our own likes and dislikes and then we glory in them. We take pleasure in and we glory and display our own ways, and say, this is me, you have to accept me as I am. Have you ever heard that? Have you ever been tempted to say that?

Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

In the time of Jacob’s trouble we are to have our earthliness removed as well. To mind earthly things. Here is the human nature that glories in its own shame. Isn’t that what we see in the world around us today? It’s a shame the way they dress but they glory in it. They go and display. This is what human fallen nature will do, because it is natural to us. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man. It seems right, it seems good, it’s the glory, but the end thereof are the ways of death. The example of this kind of glorying in human selfisms is there in Isaiah 3. Here God lays out vividly the glory of man that he is so naturally inclined to pursue:

Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: 17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. 18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of [their] tinkling ornaments [about their feet], and [their] cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon, 19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

Then He describes all those things that people glory in. If this is the way that people glory and God says, I want you to glorify Me in your life; can you see that it is a total change of ways? Not just the extreme ones like these. God is calling upon us to do the opposite to what is so natural to us:

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD.

Give God the glory? This is our focus. If I am going to give God the glory, if I am going to open my heart to what I have learned of Jesus, then I am going to make a deliberate choice. I am not going to draw my own conclusions, I am not going to glory in anything but that which the Lord has revealed to me, that which the Lord has shown me to do. Everything I do is according to my focus on the Lord’s directions in my life. That’s all. I am not to slip into my own comfort zone but to stay in the path of the cross. I am not to be an enemy of the cross. I am to glory in the fact that I know God now. Look at Him, look at His character revealed in Jesus. As I behold that beautiful glory, I will display that glory, this exercising of lovingkindness, of judgment, of righteousness in the earth, for that’s what the Lord delights in.

To understand God’s way and to do it, is to reflect His original glory. I want emphasise the fact that this is a choice, so that we don’t just say, Yes, I am glad to be part of a church that accepts truth and proclaims the truth. Well, that’s not quite good enough! I accept the truth that is going to change me and I am going to make a choice that the truth that I am upholding is going to change my practice and my life. It’s going to change all my glorying. If I am going to make that choice, is it not incumbent upon me to be thoroughly acquainted with all that? so that whatever I do, when I eat or drink, or whatever I do, I’m going to become acquainted with the glory of God on that matter. That’s what our life is all about.

To be the people of the angel whose glory is going to fill the whole earth, we are to be zealously acquainted with the aspects of God’s glory. The following scriptures are just to remind us, because we have already gone over this material in the past. All of God’s ways, God’s way of dress, God’s way of music, these are God’s ways. We are familiar with them but have we become a little stale here or there forgetting? The fact is that if we make the choice of becoming totally acquainted with all this material for one purpose, that we will reveal the glory of God, then we are going to be those people who are going to restore all things before the world. We must understand that we are here to give God the glory, nothing else, to uplift the glory and character of God whether we eat or drink or whatever we do. I have made a decision to be part of God’s people.

Isaiah 58:12 And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, the paths in which you dwell. What is your path like? I desire to be of the Lord. I have made a choice to be responsive to His overtures of character of love. I have made the choice and I am going to raise up the foundations of many generations. I am going to repair the breach. I am going to restore the paths to dwell in.

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16 … But they said, We will not walk [therein].

Why? Because the majority of people find it a cross. To be these kinds of people who will ask for the old ways and the good ways, it is a cross! Especially in today’s circumstances. They are the enemies of the cross, they will not. Are we going to be the enemies of the cross? or are we going to embrace this amazing story of the cross of Jesus, the journey of the atonement and are we going to stand there and take hold of those old paths, the good way, and walk therein? That is the call. Everything we have learnt over the years, to walk in it; not just to know about it. To be faithful, to be diligent, to display God’s glory, to be restorers of paths to dwell in, the old ways. The old paths are what God has already established from ancient times and they have been lost under modern thinking.

I have wanted to share this to rekindle a diligence within us by beholding Jesus and seeing the glory of God and manifesting a decision by which we are going to be very faithful in a world of general darkness. Because that is exactly where we are living, in Isaiah 60. As we submit and put it into action, God’s glory will be seen upon us. The old ways, whatever we do, will be seen by the world around us, and they’ll go, wow, what is this? They will see it, and they will persecute you for it because they hate it. But those genuine ones that are God’s people will say, This is the way, yes, we’re going to be part of that. These are the declarations of God to a people who open their hearts to His righteousness.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

What will be seen upon you? His glory, His character. In the things I eat, in the things I dress with, in the things I do day to day in my daily work, in the things I listen to, in the things I watch, in whatever I do! All to the glory of God. It’s a call. It’s an expression of God’s creative power, Arise! Come on, you are Mine. Shine!

Whether we are one or two or three, remember Shadrach , Meshach and Abed-Nego, only three people in the whole empire together with Daniel. Did they shine in the darkness? There would have been Jews amongst them and everybody else bowed down to the image. We are all surrounded by people bowing down to the image of the beast today. By the lifestyle the whole world is following the ways of the world, and there are very few people who will not bow to any parts of the world. We can choose to be those people because God is inviting us to give Him the glory. It is those few people in these last days that will be used and by which God’s glory will cover the whole world.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

What a prospect. What a challenge. What a thrill to be the ones and twos and threes or fours that God will use to cause His glory to cover the whole earth like the waters of the sea.

May God grant us to behold His glory so that by beholding we will be changed and permit our lives to be altered constantly, not altered backwards, but altered forwards. Haven’t you seen how people start off well and then drift backwards? But to start off well is to continue to progress and move forward in the light and revelation of God’s character.

May the Lord grant us this determination to be among that people that will give God the glory, after He has done so much for us.

Posted on October 18, 2014, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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